The need for expanded screening and a protocol for how to triage people is expressed well in this article from San Francisco. To address this, Simtech Solutions refined the tech designed for the HUD Point in Time homeless count, and used to respond to disasters such as hurricane Harvey, to support a coordinated local response. Front-line staff conduct Health and Wellness assessments with people living on the streets and in shelters, and capture critical data on encampments, while administrators provide centralized oversight through the Regional Command Center using this triage process

The technical approach is covered within this webinar hosted by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) and starts 40 minutes in. 

COVID-19 Health and Wellness Screening Command Center - Incoming Surveys Nationwide

The questions within the Health and Wellness assessment were largely informed by both the Interim Guidance for People Experiencing Homelessness from the CDC, the COVID-19 HMIS Setup and Data Sharing Practices from HUD, the COVID-19 Client Triage Tool from Atlanta, GA, as well as advice and feedback from medical professionals and outreach staff. 

The intent of the Encampment Screening Tool, found here, is to ensure that basic human needs are being met for those who are sheltering in place. For example, the CDC guidance, Responding to COVID-19 among People Experiencing Homelessness, suggests encampments with ten people or more have hand washing stations and portable latrines. By screening each encampment, and having that data tracked in real-time, oversight can be provided to ensure compliance. 

This survey was influenced by the CDC guidance, this survey instrument from King County, as well as HUD guidance on Protecting the Health and Well-being of People in Encampments During and Infectious Disease Outbreak.

To demo the Counting Us app and these COVID-19 response surveys simply download the app from either Google Play or the App Store, register an account, and enter in the setup key of “StayHealthy”.

The command center is accessed by a select group of personnel responsible for monitoring the real-time flow of incoming survey data and following up as needed.  Command center staff can “work the list” to triage people into available housing and shelter resources by following established triage protocols.  Viable placement options might include existing shelter beds, sheltering in place, quarantine units, isolation units, as well as hospital and other medical facilities. 

To get started, please fill out the Contact Us form and a member of our team will get back to you to discuss next steps.  

Simtech Solutions supports an active client roster of over 50 regions throughout the US with the majority of these regions choosing to use the Counting Us app to support their annual Point in Time homeless counts.  The tech is industry-proven and the virtues of it are explained in detail within articles from HUD, USICHCityLab, and GCN.  HUD also licensed the Point in Time Counting Tool from Simtech which provided critical peer review of the entire technical infrastructure. Details of how the app was used to help triage over 2,000 evacuees from the flooding after Hurricane Harvey are detailed within this NHDSC presentation